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Joseph Kosuth, Book Presentation_Special Double Volume: May 8, h. 5-7 mp_ Aula Baratto. Ca' Foscari University
Joseph Kosuth, The Material of Ornament, 1997
Luisella Romeo
Joseph Kosuth, The Material of Ornament, 1997
08 May 2019

We are proud to announce the double volume book presentation celebrating Joseph Kosuth’s two large public installations in Venice: ‘The Material of Ornament’ and ‘Creating Relations (for Carlo Scarpa)’ published by Trolley Books, London.

The book launch will take place in the Mario Baratto Lecture Hall, Ca Foscari University, in the heart of Venice on the Grand Canal, on the 8th of May 2019 from 5pm to 7pm on occasion of the 58th Venice Art Biennale.


‘The Material of Ornament’ is a reprint of an artist’s book to mark the Fondazione Querini Stampalia’s 150th anniversary first published in 1999 by Westzone, the first publishing house of Gigi Giannuzzi who went on to found Trolley Books in 2001 in Venice.

The book was edited by Chiara Bertola, and documented Kosuth’s permanent installation on the façade of the Fondazione Querini Stampalia in Venice, which was unveiled in 1997. This installation was initially commissioned for the ‘Sarajevo 2000’ exhibition of the Venice Biennale. The work is from a text by John Ruskin, dated from the middle of the 19th century. Ruskin’s goal was to list the elements that constituted architectural ornamentation.

In Kosuth’s own words ‘I was also curious to see if I could stand some of my own presumptions on their head and do a work about decoration and ornamentation (fairly taboo) which, nonetheless, at the same time, was a reflexive state of its own decorative role, even if in contradiction. I was interested in the idea of taking a theoretical model of ornamentation and using that as ornamentation.’

The book includes an introduction by the present director of the Querini Stampalia Marigusta Lazzari and by the past director, Giorgio Busetto, an essay by curator Chiara Bertola and an interview by historian Angela Vettese.


The second volume focuses on a more recent work produced in 2016 on occasion of the Architecture Biennale. This book presents a multifaceted interpretation of the artist’s work in relation to Carlo Scarpa and the architect’s intervention in the renowned Mario Baratto lecture hall. The work consists of reproductions of Scarpa’s own handwriting and line drawings as well as statements by Scarpa on architecture and the Baratto lecture hall, selected by Kosuth and positioned in sections around the perimeter of the window panes.


The reprint is of significance for being a Venice project conceived in Venice and published and printed in Venice, and since the death of Gigi Giannuzzi in 2012 a way to historically revisit one of his early publications.

The book is again edited by Chiara Bertola and Fiona Biggiero and contains a foreword by Ca’ Foscari rector professor Flavio Gregori, an essay by the sociologist Angela Mengoni and introductory essays by curators Chiara Bertola and Geraldine Blais and a graphic project with an imaginary dialogue on architecture between Kosuth and Carlo Scarpa by Fiona Biggiero.

Photographic documentation by Mauro Sambo and Francesco Allegretto.

This double volume has been possible thanks to the generous support of Galleria Lia Rumma, Milano/Napoli and Galleria Vistamare /Vistamarestudio, Pescara/Milano.

All the participants in both books will be present at the book presentation, which will be in English and moderated by Hannah Watson, Director of Trolley Books.




Title Volume I:

Reprint of: ‘The Material of the Ornament’ 1997 originally published in 1999

Published by: Trolley Books London

Edited by: Chiara Bertola

Format: 18 x 12cm

Cover: hardback

Pages: approx. 75

Print run: 2000

Language: English + Italian

Texts by: Marigusta Lazzari; Chiara Bertola and an interview by Angela Vettese


Title Volume II:

‘Inventing Relations (for Carlo Scarpa) ‘ 2016

Published by: Trolley Books London

Edited by Chiara Bertola and Fiona Biggiero

Format: 18 x 12cm

Cover: hardback

Pages: approx 60

Print run: 2000 copies

Language: English + Italian

Texts by: Flavio Gregori, statement Ca' Foscari University Prorector ; Chiara Bertola, curator ; Geraldine Blais, curator; Angela Mengoni, semiologist; Fiona Biggiero, editor


Photographic documentation by: Mauro Sambo, Francesco Allegretto


RRP €30 for both volumes

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